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12 Places to Watch Football in Washington, DC

Penn Social - Chinatown - Washington, DC

These bars and restaurants draw sports-loving crowds with huge TVs, free-flowing beer and oodles of team spirit.

‘Tis football season, which means it’s time to cozy up to a bar rocking your favorite team’s colors, order up a brew and some apps and get to cheering (and shaking nervously during the biggest moment of the game). We have compiled 12 great spots that will only increase the pleasure of football-watching once you arrive.

1 Penn Commons

Penn Commons - Penn Quarter - Washington, DC

Just steps away from Verizon Center, this Penn Quarter bar screams “Sports Fan Heaven” as soon as you walk in the door. The circular bar is outfitted with high-def TVs, so you’ll never have a problem catching game action. The jaw-dropping beer list is full of flavors and styles, and you will not want to miss out on spicy chili and garlic glazed wings or the shrimp and crab nachos. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. until closing time on Saturday, and, wait for it: all day on Sunday.

2 Penn Social
Penn Social Penn Social

Located just a few blocks from Verizon Center, this 13,000 square-foot subterranean spot is a fun place for sports thanks to a game-focused setup that includes trivia nights, cornhole leagues, beer pong tournaments, shuffleboard, foosball and giant Jenga. But on game days, you can catch the action on a huge 22-foot movie screen, plus lots of other games on nine 10-foot screens around the space.

3 City Tap House
City Tap House City Tap House

This gastropub, located in the heart of downtown, provides plenty of craft beer, plenty of hospitality and a food menu plentiful with innovative takes on classic bar dishes (corn and crab hushpuppies, Korean short rib tacos, blue crab mac and cheese). Its rustic and open setting is perfect for kicking back and enjoying the big game.

4 Clyde’s of Gallery Place

Clyde's of Gallery Place - Burger and Fries - Washington, DC

Clyde’s has been a staple of DC since its Georgetown location opened in 1963, but this Gallery Place rendition dazzles upon entering. The two-level spot features three bars and a strong sports theme – a portrait of Babe Ruth greets you upon entering. Clyde’s regulars rave about the chili, the Buffalo wings and the burgers, and don’t be shy: friendly bartenders will flip over to your game upon request.


RFD - Chinatown - Washington, DC

The expansive RFD is one of the city’s most popular hubs for big games, and it’s very easy to see why. The communal atmosphere is perfect for celebratory moments, the bar food is delicious (try the Bavarian pretzels) and the beer selection is as varied as you’ll find in the District. Choose from more than 45 draft beers, then take a look at the 300-plus bottles available.

6 High Velocity
High Velocity Marriott Marquis

Found inside the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, this vibrant sports bar should be at the top of your list for catching the season’s biggest football games. 40 large flat-screen HDTVs line the walls, and you can settle in with your pals at the communal tables. The bar menu has everything you could possibly ask for, while a selection of nearly 50 beers on tap (from imports to local favorites) means you’re set up for quite an afternoon or evening of sports-watching bliss.

7 Meridian Pint

Meridian Pint - Columbia Heights - Washington, DC

Neighborhood restaurant upstairs, sports bar downstairs. This Columbia Heights bar manages a trifecta of stellar beer (25 on tap and more than 50 by bottle), tasty food and a lively atmosphere. On weekends in the fall, the lower level sports bar shows NFL and college games on 12 screens.

8 Buffalo Billiards
Buffalo Billiards Buffalo Billiards

This enormous two-level bar bordering Dupont Circle offers big screens tuned to practically every game (no matter the sport), plus shuffleboard, darts, skeeball and pool for those who aren’t into watching (or during a break in the action). Great happy hour specials and District Trivia Wednesdays are a special bonus.

9 The Prospect
The Prospect The Prospect

Relatively new to the neighborhood, this bar rapidly gained a following for its dedication to sports. The 150-seat interior—a 40-seat patio overlooks U Street—is adorned with a collection of sports memorabilia. The food is a modern, gourmet take on tailgating must-haves (hello, venison chili dog and braised goat nachos) and the place offers a broad selection of beer, cider and cider-based cocktails. Oh, and the TVs: More than 40 HD flat screens can display gridiron action.

10 Nellie’s

We’re willing to wager that this is the only sports bar in town to host a jam-packed drag queen brunch each Sunday (it’s also one of the city’s top gay bars). But after the brunch crowd has gone home, the place reverts to one of the city’s finest spots to root for your team. Multiple TVs on both floors mean you’ll be able to catch a marathon of sports, including plenty of pigskin pageantry.

11 The Billy Goat Tavern
The Billy Goat Tavern The Billy Goat Tavern

Originally founded in Chicago (with its staff’s communication becoming the basis of a legendary Saturday Night Live skit), the Billy Goat Tavern is an ideal gathering place to enjoy burgers, beers and ball. Neighborhood vibes pervade, with friendly bartenders and even friendlier prices. Conveniently located near Union Station, you can watch a game here and feel right at home, even if you’re from out of town.

12 Laughing Man Tavern
Laughing Man Tavern Laughing Man Tavern

This divey Metro Center bar draws a devoted crowd of Buffalo Bills fans, as well as supporters of several college football programs. But don’t fret: the strong lineup of TVs means you can find the game of your choice. The bar’s cavernous lower level features table games and a back room with a huge projector screen.

Game’s over, but your thirst for sports isn’t? Check out our guide to Washington, DC’s sports scene.